Countdown to Commencement: Senior Year Begins Now

Whether it's registering for fall classes, arranging for next year's housing or weighing post-graduation options, most juniors know that senior year begins now.

Employment and graduate school marketability takes on greater importance as students look ahead. Internships, networking and leadership initiatives are viewed as purposeful and imperative. Resumes, curricula vitae and career portfolios are seen as necessary tools for success.

Amid the pressure to excel, your student may be wondering, "Have I done enough?"

Seeing the Big Picture

Stellar grades, abundant co-curricular involvement and prestigious internship experiences may be every parent's dream. But, in truth, college students vary in aptitude, achievement and motivation.

Whether your student is at the top of the class or is still working his or her way upward, take heart in knowing it is the sum of his or her experiences that matter most.

Most certainly, graduate schools and employers favor:

  • Solid grades
  • Three or more internship experiences
  • Diverse experiential activities (research, creative, scholarly, etc.)
  • Multiple co-curricular involvement including leadership positions
  • Personal initiative in creating opportunities for oneself

But even if your student is lagging behind, there is still time to take action. An academic advisor, Career Services expert and/or mentor can suggest ways your student can fill in the gaps.

Taking Inventory

Creating an impressive and well-polished professional profile goes beyond fulfilling a checklist of accomplishments. A student needs to see how his or her experiences, skills and achievements come together to present a marketable candidate for graduate school or employment. When thoughtfully woven together, experiences that may seem insignificant on their own can add up to create an impressive profile.

The following list can help your student get started. The list includes important experiences and competencies your student may have gained through academic, co-curricular and experiential learning activities. In scanning the list, your student should consider their use in a resume, curriculum vitae and career portfolio, as well as when being interviewed for a job or internship position.

  • Foreign language, math, English competencies
  • Peer tutoring
  • Course assistant
  • Teaching experience or serving as a trainer
  • Counseling experience
  • Mediation skills
  • Public speaking
  • Scholarly, creative or tutorial writing
  • Writing press releases, working with media and marketing/public relations initiatives
  • Editing a newspaper, newsletter or journal article
  • Formal presentations at professional conferences
  • Advanced computer, photography, broadcasting experience
  • Graphic design competency
  • Creative/artistic/performing arts talent
  • Ability to analyze raw data and create reports
  • Market, competitor, economic analysis skills
  • Experience in bookkeeping, accounting, auditing
  • Financial and management accounting skills
  • Budgeting on behalf of an organization
  • Experience in developing business plans and project planning
  • Real-world consulting
  • Leadership training
  • Fundraising

Seeking Assistance

If your student is having difficulty synthesizing his or her experiences, attributes and skills into a marketable profile, an appointment with a Career Services advisor can be helpful. The advisor can assist your student in creating an impressive profile that can garner the attention of prospective employers and graduate schools.